Highlights in Emergency Medicine Medical Education Research: 2008


  • Susan E. Farrell MD, EdM,

  • Wendy C. Coates MD,

  • Gloria J. Khun DO, PhD,

  • Jonathan Fisher MD, MPH,

  • Philip Shayne MD,

  • Michelle Lin MD

  • From the Office of Graduate Medical Education, Partners Healthcare System, Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard Medical School, and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (SEF), Boston, MA; the Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA (WCC), Torrance CA, and University of California, Los Angeles–David Geffen School of Medicine (WCC), Los Angeles, CA; the Department of Emergency Medicine, Wayne State University (GJK), Detroit, MI; the Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (JF), Boston, MA; the Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine (PS), Atlanta, GA; and the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Emergency Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital (ML), San Francisco, CA.

Address for correspondence and reprints: Susan E. Farrell, MD, EdM; e-mail: sefarrell@partners.org.


Objectives:  The purpose of this article is to highlight medical education research studies published in 2008 that were methodologically superior and whose outcomes were pertinent to teaching and education in emergency medicine.

Methods:  Through a PubMed search of the English language literature in 2008, 30 medical education research studies were independently identified as hypothesis-testing investigations and measurements of educational interventions. Six reviewers independently rated and scored all articles based on eight anchors, four of which related to methodologic criteria. Articles were ranked according to their total rating score. A ranking agreement among the reviewers of 83% was established a priori as a minimum for highlighting articles in this review.

Results:  Five medical education research studies met the a priori criteria for inclusion and are reviewed and summarized here. Four of these employed experimental or quasi-experimental methodology. Although technology was not a component of the structured literature search employed to identify the candidate articles for this review, 14 of the articles identified, including four of the five highlighted articles, employed or studied technology as a focus of the educational research. Overall, 36% of the reviewed studies were supported by funding; three of the highlighted articles were funded studies.

Conclusions:  This review highlights quality medical education research studies published in 2008, with outcomes of relevance to teaching and education in emergency medicine. It focuses on research methodology, notes current trends in the use of technology for learning in emergency medicine, and suggests future avenues for continued rigorous study in education.